ShootingStraight3 ShootingStraight11 ShootingStraight16
Larry / Ted
Richard Dix
Doris Powell
Mary Lawlor
Ace Martin
Matthew Betz
Released by RKO | Directed by George Archainbaud
Run time: 72 minutes

Shooting Straight: A Direct Shot

“He doesn’t like to be referred to as a racketeer.”

Shooting Straight is a fairly inoffensive, cute little movie. It’s kind of clunky and a little obvious, but it has Richard Dix glowering and wormy Matthew Betz dueling for the heart of a pretty woman, and it’s a fun little trifle in that way.

Dix’s Larry Sheldon is a big time racketeer in the East, great with the dice and able to inflict terror in his opponents. After he revenge murders one of his rivals, a train accident sets him up with a new identity as a crusading parson in a small upstate town. He falls for Doris, daughter of the local minister, and soon finds himself entangled in the town’s seedy gambling den versus scenery-chewing Ace Martin who is taking the town for all it’s worth.

"Aw, you're a cute little degenerate, aren't you?"

“Aw, you’re a cute little degenerate, aren’t you?”

The movie is predictable, and the direction nothing special. Richard Dix, who is always a charming ruffian, gets a nice role here to show off both his sweetness and his brusque charm. The film has a few action sequences, including a model train crash and a final brawl whose undercranking and static movement bridges that gap between the silents and the talkies once more.

Overall, there really isn’t a whole lot to say about the film, other than it’s a decent, if unremarkable watch. If you need more Dix in your life, it’s worth seeking out.


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Trivia & Links

  • A thread over on NitrateVille talks about the obscure life of star Mary Lawlor.

Awards, Accolades & Availability

  • This film is an obscure one– it recently played on TCM. I wish you luck in finding it!

More Pre-Code to Explore

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Danny is a writer who lives with his lovely wife, adorable children, and geriatric yet yappy dog. He blogs at, a website dedicated to Hollywood films from 1930 to 1934, and can be found on Twitter @PreCodeDotCom.


Patricia Nolan-Hall (@CaftanWoman) · August 5, 2016 at 5:11 am

I always need more of the charming ruffian Richard Dix in my life, so this goes on that ol’ list.

Mike Smith · August 5, 2016 at 5:20 am

Is this the same Richard Dix referenced in Blazing Saddles?

Clate · October 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm

Four of Richard Dix’s first five talkies were comedies, the other being a military drama. Interesting that, with this film, his sixth talkie, comedy is not something that he would revisit much. Ahh, those “tough” 1930’s. Perhaps also a re-branding of Mr. Dix for talkies. Nice film, Saw it back in 1991 on AMC and re-visited it again recently, and it holds up well!

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